If you don’t know much about working from home (WFH), a first thought might be “I wish I could work from home too.” However, there is still a lot of debate on this topic and experts can’t agree whether it’s been the greatest innovation of all time or the biggest killer of productivity. Whilst there are conflicting opinions from both sides, we thought it may be a good idea to share some of these different views, so that you can decide for yourself.
Productivity increase or decrease?
This really depends on personal disposition. If you are someone who is easily distracted or requires external motivation to be productive, then a more traditional office environment may be more suitable. The temptation to switch on the TV, play games or take a nap may just be too much for some people. On the flip-side, if you are self-motivated, and know that the ‘distractions’ won’t be an issue at all, then WFH could work wonders for you.
What others think you are or are not doing
We all know what others think shouldn’t really matter, but in all honesty, no matter how much you think you don’t care, you will eventually cave in if your friends and family start questioning. WFH can easily be seen as not having a ‘serious’ job. People may assume that a flexible schedule means you aren’t really busy or are free to do things in the middle of the day. This can be especially true for extended family and friends visiting from overseas. You can counteract this and create your boundaries by changing your language to reflect traditional work norms. If you have a Skype call, you can say you are “walking into a meeting.” By respecting your own boundaries, you are educating others to do the same too.
The majority of household chores become your responsibility too
This is usually not an intentional decision, however, the fact that you are physically at home can easily equate to having time for things like washing dishes, doing laundry, buying groceries or receiving deliveries. Yes, these could be tasks you could fit into your work schedule, if needed, however it shouldn’t be an established norm. Once again, boundaries are important.
It’s good for your health
Not needing to commute to work is a benefit as you can avoid the brain-cell-killing effects of traffic jams and actions of irresponsible drivers. You have more control of your diet, can sleep more and don’t need to waste time on dressing up. On the contrary, you could also be constantly reaching for a snack or forgetting to eat entirely, as there may be no defined lunch break. For workaholics, work time may even eat into their sleep time. Self-discipline and balance is key to reaping the benefits of WFH.
Home alone overload
Some people really enjoy long periods of uninterrupted time alone, but as social beings, we still need some social interaction. WFH can mean that you might not see other people for days on end, except for perhaps your spouse, partner or furry friend. This could result in emotional isolation and social awkwardness when one is around other people.
A possible way to counteract this is to consciously plan to do at least one task each day, away from home. This could be taking your pet for a walk, going for a run or grabbing a coffee at your nearest café.
The idea of working from home certainly conjures up some exciting and daunting prospects. In the end, this is entirely a subjective choice and each of us may instinctively know which environment would bring out our best and most productive selves.